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Jason Molina: Riding with the Ghost

Narrated by: Doug Greene
Length: 8 hrs and 23 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Summary

Erin Osmon presents a detailed, human account of the Rust Belt-born musician Jason Molina - a visionary, prolific, and at times cantankerous singer-songwriter with an autodidactic style that captivated his devoted fans. The songwriting giant behind the bands Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co. had a knack for spinning tales, from the many personal myths he cultivated throughout his life to the poems and ballads he penned and performed. As with too many great musicians, Molina’s complicated relationship with the truth, combined with a secretive relationship with the bottle, ultimately claimed his life.

Jason Molina: Riding with the Ghost details Molina’s personal trials and triumphs and reveals for the first time the true story of Molina’s last months and works, including an unpublished album unknown to many of his fans. Offering unfettered access to the mind and artistry of Molina through exclusive interviews with family, friends, and collaborators, the audiobook also explores the Midwest music underground and the development of Indiana-based label Secretly Canadian.

As the first authorized and detailed account of this prolific songwriter and self-mythologizer, Jason Molina provides listeners with unparalleled insight into Molina’s tormented life and the fascinating Midwest musical underground that birthed him. It’s a story for the ages that speaks volumes to the triumphs and trials of the artistic spirit while exploring the meaningful music that Molina’s creative genius left behind.

©2017 Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (P)2017 Beacon Audiobooks

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  • james lewis
  • 18-09-19

Wonderful

The book is so great but the reader is a little weird. You’ll really notice it when he recite’s Jason’s lyrics but the text is good enough that it doesn’t get very much in the way.

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  • Jeremy Hatch
  • 24-07-19

The only bio, well-reported and listenable

I actually listened to this entire audiobook from beginning to end in one marathon stretch during a 700-mile solo drive I had to do today. It was compelling enough from beginning to end that I was never tempted to put on something else during the entire 8.5 hours and found myself suddenly at the end of his life story as I approached my destination in the evening. That's a good review right there.

You're probably here because you already know who Molina was, and you want to know more. I wouldn't be surprised if this is the only book-length treatment his life gets, so I'm glad it appears to be well-reported. The writing is not great in itself but it wasn't distractingly bad or gossipy, so I'd give it 5 stars for the genre. The last couple hours shed much more light on the end of his life than any other source I have read. Those hours were deeply sad and disappointing, but I'm glad the info is well-attested here, because at the time he died it was basically impossible to figure out what had even happened to him, or why.

The single criticism I have is about the narrator: this guy is really badly-suited to the material. He sounds like his natural element is business books and news. His readings of Molina's song lyrics were especially trying, since he clearly has no feel for the pregnant pauses you'd need to include in order to convey anything like their impact in the songs. However, his reading is functional and understated, and to be honest, he really does seem to be making an effort to connect with the material throughout. He also doesn't overdo it. For example, imagine how totally insufferable Edoardo Ballerini would have been on this same material. So I have to give him 4 stars. Not the best conceivable performance, but it does the job just fine, and with the exception of the lyrics the reading didn't get in the way for me, which is the most important thing.

Overall a really excellent listen for this long-time fan of Molina's music.

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  • Brittany
  • 01-02-19

Fascinating....

Though the narrators voice is a bit robotic, this was a very solid listen. It was very cool to hear so many details about an artist that I love so dearly. Recommended.